I recently attended a retreat about gratitude and it reminded me of a project John Kralik undertook several years ago.
He was down in the dumps; “anything but thankful” is how he termed it. But instead of wallowing in his misfortunes, he decided to be grateful for what he had and pledged to write a thank you note a day for all of 2008. By 2010 he published a book of his notes and continued writing for several years after that.
Kralik offers three simple steps of how to craft a note that effectively expresses your gratitude:
1. Make your note handwritten.
2. Be specific about what you are grateful for.
3. Keep it short — three or four sentences.
I have been the lucky recipient of many expressions of gratitude over the years. I have saved them all, in a special file that I drag out and look at on occasion. It is hard to be sad after just a few minutes of reading.
You don’t have to be as ambitious as Kralik to make someone’s day today. Spend the few minutes that it takes to thank someone. You can be like Kralik and thank the Starbucks barista who remembers his name or the surgeon who relieved him of pain. Or you can stay closer to home and express your gratitude to someone who has helped you recently or just made you smile.
Either way, “thank you” are two beautiful words to give as well as to receive.
Source: Up your gratitude by John Kralik in Parade magazine, January 1, 2012, p. 12
Also see: A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik or www.365thankyounotes.com